​Car Allowance vs Company Car: Which Option is Best?

​Car Allowance vs Company Car: Which Option is Best?

Posted on 18 April 2024

Car Allowance or Company Car?

When it comes to providing vehicles for employees, companies typically have two main options: a car allowance or a company car. Both choices have their advantages and downsides, and the decision ultimately depends on various factors specific to the company and the employees' needs.

To help understand which option is the best, we first need to know the fundamental differences are between the two options.

A car allowance is a fixed monthly payment given to employees to cover the costs associated with using their personal vehicle for work purposes. On the other hand, a company car is a vehicle owned or leased by the employer and assigned to an employee for business and potentially personal use.

In this blog post, we'll explore the pros and cons of having a company car vs a car allowance.

Benefits of Car Allowance

One of the main benefits of a car allowance is the financial flexibility it offers employees. With a car allowance, employees can choose a vehicle that best suits their needs and budget, allowing for greater personalisation.

Additionally, car allowances can provide tax advantages in certain situations, as a portion of the allowance may be considered a non-taxable reimbursement for business-related expenses.

Another benefit of a car allowance is the lack of restrictions on personal use. Unlike company cars, employees with a car allowance can freely use their personal vehicle for both work and personal purposes without any limitations.

Toy car sitting on stack of coins

Restrictions of a Car Allowance

Car allowances also come with their set of challenges. Employees are responsible for all maintenance, insurance, and fuel costs associated with their personal vehicle. This can be a significant financial burden, especially if the allowance amount is insufficient to cover these expenses.

Additionally, employees receiving a car allowance may be required to keep detailed records and report their business-related mileage and expenses for tax purposes, adding an administrative burden.

Benefits of a Company Car

The benefits of a company car offer employees the convenience of having a vehicle provided by their employer without any upfront costs. The company typically covers all expenses related to maintenance, insurance, and fuel, saving employees from these recurring costs.

Other benefits of a company car are that there can be potential tax advantages for the employer, as certain vehicle-related expenses may be tax-deductible.

Restrictions of a Company Car

Company cars also come with their own set of limitations. Employees often have limited choice in the vehicle they are assigned, which may not align with their personal preferences, ethics or needs. Additionally, there are typically restrictions on personal use, with strict guidelines on allowable mileage and usage.

Employees may also face potential tax implications when receiving a company car, as the vehicle's value may be considered a taxable fringe benefit, potentially increasing their overall tax liability.

Woman walking by white car

Other Factors to Consider

When deciding between a car allowance vs. company car, it's essential to consider several other factors, such as the employee's job role and driving requirements. For instance, employees who frequently travel long distances or have specialised vehicle needs may benefit more from a car allowance, allowing them to choose a suitable vehicle.

Additionally, the company's budget and preferences play a crucial role. While company cars may have higher upfront costs, they can offer better cost control and potential tax advantages for the employer.

Cost Comparison

To make an informed decision, it's crucial to weigh up the company car pros and cons and the car allowance pros and cons carefully.

Cartoon car shaped piggy bank

Factors such as the vehicle type, anticipated mileage, and maintenance costs can significantly impact the overall expenses. In some cases, a car allowance may be more cost-effective, particularly for employees with low mileage or those who prefer to use their personal vehicles. However, for high-mileage employees or those with specialised vehicle needs, a company car may be the more economical choice.

Ultimately, the decision between a car allowance vs company car depends on a variety of factors unique to each company and employee. By carefully weighing the pros and cons, considering the specific needs and preferences, and thoroughly analysing the potential costs, companies can make an informed choice that best aligns with their goals and employees' requirements.

Are you looking for a new role, with great benefits?

Click here to see our latest roles

Share this article